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Course Delivery & Education Services

BU Privacy Notice: Students

Management & delivery of your course: core teaching, learning and research services

The data processed for these purposes will include a wide range of information we collect from you and from third parties, and which is generated through your contact with us.  This will include contact information, education history and employment information, and details of your course, your study and learning activities, your progression and your academic performance. This includes:

  • Information about your engagement with your course. This may include information about your attendance at classes (lectures, tutorials, supervisory meetings, lab sessions or other teaching sessions), your use of learning resources (including your use of the Brightspace VLE and library resources), your submission of work and your contact with BU academic staff, including your academic adviser and any research supervisor
  • Information about your actual and expected academic progression and performance/attainment
  • Your submitted assignments and assessment or examination papers
  • Evaluations, reviews or assessments of and comments on your work, including marks and grades awarded
  • Arrangements for assessments and examinations
  • Details of assessments and examinations taken, your predicted and actual grades and other information in your student record; and
  • Any communications between you and BU academic or administrative staff, and internal communications between BU staff which relate to you individually.

We process this information in our Faculties and in our administration teams to deliver your course/programme. We use it to deliver teaching, supervision and other academic support for your studies, to mark or assess your work and to provide you with access to all other relevant elements of our core teaching, learning and research services in accordance with the BU Student Agreement, including the facilities which form part of the core BU student experience. Our processing will include making arrangements for teaching, assignments, supervision meetings, examinations and other elements of your course content or requirements, and communicating with you about them. We use plagiarism detection software (Turnitin®) to review submitted assignments, and this involves putting your written work into a database maintained by Turnitin® in the United States. We also refer some written work to external examiners, i.e. academics working outside BU.          

We will be delivering some teaching, supervision and assessment activities by remote or on-line methods, using facilities within BU systems or tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Where this is the case, the same types of data are processed as described above and for the same purposes. However there may be additional recording of the data being processed, for example through use of recording, monitoring or messaging functions within the systems being used. BU staff will be transparent about the way in which they use these tools. To avoid any adverse impact on staff and other students, you will need to comply with any instructions or guidance given to you about how to use engage with remote delivery and specific tools being used for it.

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This processing is necessary to enable you to follow your programme of study in accordance with the BU Student Agreement (including relevant BU policies and procedures) and develop and progress academically, with a view to obtaining the academic standard required to achieve the qualification or credits associated with your course.     

We process your data through the marking of your assignments and examinations, and in discussions and decisions about the award of marks, grades and degrees.   For certain assignments and examinations your submitted work may be shared with external examiners, i.e. academics not employed by BU who provide an external perspective on the BU marking process to ensure that it is fair and maintains appropriate academic standards.  (Postgraduate research subject to a Viva Voce examination will always be shared with an external examiner). 

When you submit assignments for formal assessment through the Brightspace VLE, these will automatically be subject to a plagiarism detection review using Turnitin® software.   This software uses textual similarity analysis to provide a plagiarism risk-rating for your work.  This is shared with the BU staff member marking your work, who will consider whether any action is required.  Your assignment will automatically be stored within Turnitin®’s database for reference in detecting plagiarism. Use of Turnitin® involves the transfer of your personal data outside the EU, to the United States, but contractual arrangements and other protections are in place to ensure that your data receives the same protection as it would when held in the UK/EU.  

We monitor your overall engagement with your course as part of the process of supervising and supporting your academic progress and supporting your wider interests and welfare.  This is also relevant to compliance with immigration law requirements where relevant.  We capture information about your attendance at specific teaching sessions where this is required either for professional regulatory body requirements (courses within the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences which lead to professional registration) or to satisfy the conditions of apprenticeship programmes. Attendance information may also be captured in relation to other students: where this takes place, you should be informed by your Faculty or relevant academic staff about the data which will be captured and the reasons for this.

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research

Evaluation and improvement of courses and student experience

We sometimes ask for your feedback on your academic experiences. We use your feedback on our courses and your study experience at BU  to comply with our policies on programme monitoring and evaluation, in order to maintain and improve the quality of our courses and teaching activities and take decisions as to the nature and content of the programmes we will provide to students in the future. Further information on this is provided below. 

We also process your data, including data about your academic progress and performance, to meet the requirements of our regulator, the Office for Students (OfS).  We use this data to plan and execute activity to monitor and enhance the quality of our provision and support our Access and Participation Plan as required by OfS.  More information about our reporting to OfS is provided in the Organisational Development section below.  

More information

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research
  • Necessary for compliance with a legal obligation on BU: we will identify the relevant obligation [Art 6.1(c)]
  • Necessary for the purposes of substantial public interest

Academic appeals, student complaints, student disciplinary proceedings. Fitness to Practise and Support to Study proceedings.

We will share your data as necessary to manage these situations fairly in accordance with BU’s policies on appeals, complaints and disciplinary action. If you make an academic appeal or a complaint, this will usually mean disclosing information about the case to the individual(s) responsible for the matters you are complaining about. Information may be disclosed to individuals from outside BU who sit on panels who take decisions about this type of case.

We will share data externally with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) if you decide to refer any matter to the OIA and with external regulators where relevant following the conclusion of Fitness to Practise proceedings.

This will include processing of information about any health issues or other personal circumstances which you provide to us for consideration within these processes.

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If you issue an academic appeal or make a complaint under our Student Complaints policy relating to any aspect of your course, or if there is a concern that you may have committed an academic offence or behaved in a way that justifies disciplinary action by BU or affects your suitability for a course leading to a regulated profession, we will process your data as necessary to apply the relevant BU’s policy and procedure and the BU Student Agreement.  Our policies and procedures are intended to provide processes which are fair to all of those involved.  Where relevant, we will process information about the work you have undertaken on the course and your academic performance and progression, including information about marks awarded to your work or examination scripts.  We will share your information with senior staff within BU’s Students Union (SUBU) and/or with relevant NHS or other professionals from outside BU, where they are involved in determining complaints or appeals as provided for in our processes.

Following any Fitness to Practise proceedings we may need to report the outcome to external regulatory bodies (professional regulators such as the Nursing & Midwifery Council, or the Disclosure & Barring Service), if evidence collected or the outcome of the proceedings indicates that you may pose a risk to children or vulnerable adults or are otherwise not suitable to practise the relevant profession.

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research, and/or the public task of external regulators 

If, following completion of BU’s processes, you decide that you wish to refer a matter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) for determination of whether BU has complied with its policies, we are required to provide the OIA with full copies of the material taken into account under our processes and this will include sharing your personal data.

  • ecessary for legitimate interests pursued by BU, i.e. compliance with the OIA process

If you provide us with information about your personal circumstances, including health or disability information, on the basis that this is relevant to any appeal, complaint or allegation, then with your agreement we will process this information as necessary to complete the relevant BU process and share it with the OIA if you refer the matter to them.

  • Consent: you have agreed to this processing

Applications for exception/special consideration

We process information about requests from students for consideration of exceptional circumstances which may be affecting their academic performance, in particular their ability to meet deadlines for submission of assignments or other course requirements.

Where the reasons given for the request relate to health conditions or disability, we will be processing special category data.

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We will only process this as necessary for determining your request and implementing any special arrangements which are agreed.

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research
  • Consent: you have agreed to this processing

Virtual learning environment (Brightspace)

BU uses the Brightspace Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to carry out many activities in respect of the management and delivery of its courses. This includes provision of access to learning and teaching resources, provision of personal and professional development resources for postgraduate researchers, use of Brightspace’s tools for communications between students and BU staff for management of courses and provision of teaching and learning support, submission of assignments (including referral of assignments to Turnitin®), capturing data relating to student attendance and engagement  and transmission of marks and feedback on student work. Students will receive messages through Brightspace from BU staff regarding their study at BU.

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The Brightspace system is provided to BU by an external supplier and cloud-hosted.Our arrangements with the system and hosting suppliers include provisions as to data security.

Students access Brightspace through individual accounts. Students are not able to view material relating to or generated by other students, except where communications take place within a message board or other forum which is open to multiple students.Staff access material submitted through Brightspace as necessary for the purposes of their current teaching responsibilities within their role at BU.

Brightspace includes functionality for capturing student attendance data which may be used where attendance is being recorded as described above. Brightspace logs data about individual use of the system: this is not routinely analysed or viewed but may be used in certain circumstances to assess your engagement with your course or provide confirmation of your compliance with course requirements e.g. submission of assignments.

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research

Library services

The library operates a number of systems which process your personal data, for the purposes of managing the University’s learning resources and ensuring you can access resources relevant to your study at BU. These systems will record information about the learning and research resources which you access and will also be used to send you messages relating to those resources or your study at BU.

Library enquiries, support requests and management of lost property left in the libraries are processed through the Library & Learning Support service, which can be accessed either through face to face contact with staff on campus or online.  The data you give to the Library & Learning Support team will be used only to respond to your enquiry or request.  We may access parts of your student record on the library services system or SITS (student record) system to enable us to respond effectively to your enquiries and requests and to return lost property to you.

From time to time the Library & Learning Support team may need to contact you about services such as the loan, renewal, return, reservation and use of library resources. In order to contact you we will access parts of your student record on the library services system or SITS system.

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The library systems include:

  • A Library Management System, supplied and hosted by an external provider, but utilising BU’s IT security arrangements. This will record information about the library resources that you borrow and will send you messages to advise you when those resources are due for return and overdue;
  • A reading list system, supplied and hosted by an external provider, but utilising BU’s IT security arrangements. This provides guidance on learning resources relevant to your study at BU. This will record your name and e-mail address should you choose to create a personal profile.
  • A variety of online library resources, supplied and hosted by external providers, but utilising BU’s IT security arrangements. Your university login enables you access learning resources relevant to your study at BU.
  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research


If you are studying at BU as part of an apprenticeship programme, we will share information about you, your attendance and your academic progression and performance with the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), your employer and any other education provider involved in delivering your apprenticeship. This is done to comply with ESFA requirements to account for apprenticeship funding and conditions set by your employer. You will be have been given details of this information sharing when you signed up for your apprenticeship.

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We will record information about your attendance at teaching and supervision sessions, so that we can provide this to your employer. 

If BU is the lead provider of your apprenticeship programme, you will have entered into a commitment agreement between BU, your employer and yourself regarding the terms of your apprenticeship, and BU will provide information direct to the ESFA in accordance with their requirements for providing apprenticeship funding and to your employer in line with the commitment agreement. 

If BU is delivering education courses to you as part of an apprenticeship programme provided by another education provider (e.g. Bournemouth & Poole College), we will provide information to the other provider so that they can then share information about you with your employer and the ESFA. 

  • Necessary for the performance of a contract between you and BU/others: this refers to your agreement to undertake the apprenticeship programme
  • Necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest: ESFA’s functions in respect of funding for apprenticeships and ensuring accountability for the use of such funding
  • Necessary for legitimate interests: employers’ interests in ensuring that employees undertaking apprenticeship programmes comply with the attendance requirements and other conditions of their absence from the workplace to undertake their course.

Bursaries, scholarships/studentships and BU support funding

We will process information about your personal and family circumstances, academic and extra-curricular interests and academic performance and progression where this is relevant to the assessment of your suitability to receive a bursary/studentship or scholarship or your eligibility for BU Financial Support Funding (previously known as hardship funding). Where a bursary or scholarship is funded wholly or partly by a third party, at their request we will disclose basic information about your identity as the recipient of an award.

Depending on the terms & conditions of the scholarship, if you accept a scholarship or bursary then information about your academic engagement, performance or attainment may be shared within BU (for BU funded awards) or with any third party funding a scholarship/bursary.You will told about such terms & conditions when the scholarship/bursary is awarded.

In relation to BU Financial Support funding we may need to process information about your financial position, e.g. bank statements, in order to determine your eligibility for funding.

Where you provide any information relating to health conditions or disability in support of an application for BU Financial Support funding or other financial support, with your agreement we will be process this for the purposes of considering your application and administering payments.

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  • Necessary for legitimate interests pursued by BU, i.e. enabling access by students to additional financial support.
  • Necessary for the purposes of a contract between us or to take steps preparatory to entering into a contract with you (e.g. a grant agreement to provide BU Financial Support funding)
  • Consent: you have agreed to this processing

Work placements, student projects & exchange programmes

Where your course involves undertaking a work placement, a project which is delivered to a third party customer or a student exchange (i.e. where you undertake a period of study at a separate education provider) it will be necessary for your data to be shared between BU and the other organisation. We are likely to share your name, contact details, information about your course at BU and details of your education and employment history in order to arrange the placement, project or exchange. We will ask the third party to share information with us about your attendance and activities within the placement, project or exchange, including performance and progression information. 

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  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for performance of BU’s core public task, i.e. delivery of higher education and research
  • Necessary for legitimate interests pursued by BU, i.e. enabling access by students to opportunities relevant to academic study and/or future career opportunities.

Disclosure to research funding organisations

Certain external research funding bodies impose requirements on BU to inform them if individuals working on a project funded by them are subject to investigation or sanction for bullying or harassment. These requirements are part of the terms and conditions of funding. The exact nature of the information which has to be disclosed and the timing of disclosures varies by individual funding body. You will be given more information about these potential disclosures if you are included in the team for a relevant research project. The funding bodies who impose this type of requirement currently include the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Professional regulatory bodies and their requirements

This section applies where you are following a course within the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences which is intended, if successfully completed, to enable you to meet the requirements for registration with a professional body. This includes certain nursing, midwifery, social work and paramedic science courses. 

Prior to you commencing your course, if there are matters on your criminal record which are or would be shown on an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service check we will carry out an assessment of your suitability to undertake the course (which includes compulsory work placements in a regulated environment). Your data may be processed for the same purposes if you become subject to our Fitness to Practise procedure during your course. 

We will share your data with the relevant professional body as necessary in relation to the confirmation of qualifications, compliance with professional registration requirements (including conduct requirements) and the accreditation of courses. This may include sharing information about your conduct, performance or progression while undertaking our courses, including any required work placements, and sharing information about any case relating to you within BU’s Fitness to Practise procedure. 

More information

More information about processing of criminal records information for the purposes of risk assessment and suitability assessment is provided in the next section of this Privacy Notice.

  • Necessary for the performance of the contract between you and BU
  • Necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest, i.e. professional regulation, maintenance of professional standards and protection of the public
  • Necessary to protect the vital interests of another person

Processing of criminal records information is carried out under Article 10 GDPR, on the basis that paragraphs 6, 11 and 18 of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 2018 apply. This is explained later in this Notice.

Privacy Notice Contents:

  1. Introduction

  2. When and how we collect your data

  3. How we hold your data

  4. How and why we process your data for BU purposes

  5. Sharing your data with third parties

  6. Transfer of your data outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

  7. Retention: how long will we keep your data for?

  8. Your rights as a data subject and how to exercise them